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Old December 3rd, 2004, 01:54 AM
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How to Deal

As some of you know, I've posted before about a stray cat here and there... that we have a few running around the neighborhood.
Well for the past two nights the motion light in the back yard has been going on and tonight after it went on I stayed by the door and watched and sure enough, up creeps a cat. It took me by surprise because the cat looked just like my Sneaky, but then I noticed that it didn't have a tail (at all) I wanted to bring it in but I unlocked the door and it was gone in a flash. I kinda figured it was looking for food so I got a bowl and put it outside. The few steps I took outside (I had no shoes on) my feet were numb, it was so cold. I went back in and got warm and then it hit me, I almost couldn't control it. I was so upset that this poor cat was outside and probably freezing, god knows what had happened to it already and now having to suffer the winter alone.
I wanted to do something but i didn't know what, I still don't. After a few minutes I checked at the door again and all of the food was gone except a few pieces on the ground. Of course this didn't help matters, I mean I knew it was hungry and for a split second I felt good about feeding it, but then I got on to thinking of how hungry this poor thing actually was. I scanned the yard and it was still there but not even close to the doorstep. I opened the door and it didn't move but then I started talking to it and it left again. I filled the dish again and the light didn't go back on yet.
I still feel silly though, getting that upset over this. I feel so sorry for this cat and it doesn't want anything to do with me.... not that I blame it, who knows what happened to it. I keep thinking about it's tail.
How do you all cope with this? I'm sure you see strays all the time right? What do you do about it?
I swear I hugged all my cats ten times tonight, they probably hate me by now.
I'm sorry this was so long and I rambled.
For now I am going to call THS in my town and see if they have any of those traps. I'd like to see this kitty be warm and full for Christmas at least. But I don't know what else to do for it, or how to deal with it...
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 09:10 AM
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I'd get a live trap for it. They're humane, and obviously you aren't going to be able to catch it. I have a real issue with people who let thier cats run at large. I've had my gardens dug up, my vehicles covered with mud, and my own animals go batty (we lost a screen due to one coming to the back door while our own cat went ape). I have a friend who has a live trap, what is essentially a cage with a door at the back. The cat walks in, the door falls once he's all the way in, and you take him to the humane society. Other than that, I'm not sure what you can do. You can call the Humane Society, but I don't know if they will leave traps or not.
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 12:26 PM
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I know EXACTLY what you mean. In the area I live there are more and more cats being left outside almost daily. I started feeding two of them last winter, who were barely six months old, if that. This spring of course the female got pregnant and because I felt responsible for not taking them in right away and doing the right thing (finding homes/ getting them fixed), as soon as the kittens were about 5 weeks and the mom cat was starting to wean them, I took them all in. 3 have new homes and one is staying with us. Now I see these two every day and feel like they are my cats, but they are wild, I tried to take the mom in and she went batty... jumped from the floor to over my head! Scared me a bit actually. And I do have plans to take her and get her fixed and the male too, but I feel guilty taking one from the other because they are always together. I just don't have the space to take both in at the same time. And our HS here was almost rude about it when I called for advice... and assured me that they had 0% chance and would be put right to sleep if I dropped them off. I was so devistated, then I found this place and did some research and found an org. here that is going to pay for the spaying and that way I can either train them, or put them back out, and at least make sure that no more kittens endure that life. Since I have food out here at all times, I see so many cats sneak in at night to eat, one I know belongs to someone near here (just not sure who or what apt.) and looks maybe a year or so old, and was told that she had a litter of kittens already which the owner sold. Two of the kittens are in real great homes....ya right....I've already seen them out at all hours day and night, no collars, prob. no shots....covered in fleas....and barely 4 months old. :sad:
And then there are those that don't understand my bleeding heart for these critters...like say my own parents...who harp on me about the money I spend on animals, my own and the strays. I have been called crazy more than once... and when I tell people what I do, they look at me like 'shouldn't you be using that money for other things?' I try to explain the joy of helping these animals, but because most are either from a farm 'our barn cats took care of themselves' kinda upbringing or one where animals are lesser beings, they still see it as waste. Money and time I could be using to better my own situation. They don't realize that I am... I feel better about myself and the priveledges I do have when I use them to help others, especially poor innocent animals that others heartlessly throw out.
It is hard not to get discouraged and feel rage and extreme sadness all at once, and trust me I have had many a teary day. But then I look down and see these 4 precious cats (3 of which are rescues), and remember why I do it, I just want all these animals to have someone who cares and loves, and doesn't turn away. So I will dust myself off and quit worrying about the money (which I have as of late... it's hard not to let the people get to ya sometimes) and momma or poppa kitty is coming in next week. And the other soon after. And I am going to keep harping on these two people leaving their kittens outside... until they get it. Because taking them away did not and does not help, they just start again with a new one....they need education, and someone to give them the proper resources to be better pet owners. And damnit that'll be me!

Hm....inspired now...thanks...work to do!
Just be comforted by the fact that there are many of us who feel like you do, and are often at a loss and unaware of where to start.

Remember, you already have the best start ....You Care. :love:
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Old December 3rd, 2004, 12:58 PM
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Thanks guys.
Yes Krd, I have been called crazy a few times myself.
I do have some hope though. I'm pretty sure feral cats would be PTS at the HS but there is a group here that will let them go after altering. I had called them about spaying and neutering the ones I have now, as in the beginning I wasn't going to keep them, but then of course I did. After the first 4 you take there, the ones after are $20 each to get altered and shots and a flea bath and if they're totally feral, they let them go. But there's a catch... there's always a catch. They only do the surgery once every two weeks so I'd have to set up the trap the night before and if I don't get it, then I have to wait another two weeks. It's really hit or miss. I could always catch it then wait it out but I really don't think that's fair either... I couldn't bring it inside, I don't have a place for it away from the others.
There's gotta be an easier way, just haven't found it yet.
Thanks for listening, I always feel better coming here and yapping about it.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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Anytime... I feel the same way about this site. And I know what you mean, those rescue groups and the like are angels, but there usually is a catch. I don't blame them though, I imagine it is a thankless job, and I know the Org. I am dealing with here has run out of money and can do no more this year (the vets here don't really give them a break I guess- consequently also why I needed assistance, I ran out of money taking in Buddy and the kittens). I was lucky with momma kitty, as she was on the list beforehand... the only thing is I also have to call before and make an appoint. but have no idea if I'll be able to trap her again. And space and my kitties are an issue (I want to bring her in after and try to train her but will not risk the health of my 4, so I'll need to get hubby on board as he'll be shacking up with her on the weekends). Its worth it of course to see these cats get a chance, and knowing that others (kittens) will not be forced to live alone in the cold. :love:
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Old December 6th, 2004, 02:17 PM
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I was wrong about the twice a month thing... it is only once a month and that day was this past thursday, I don't want to leave this poor kitty out in the cold that long.
I called the HS and they rent out live traps for $2/day (which is a good price), but with a $100 deposit or something crazy like that... I still think that's our best bet but I don't have the cash to throw at them this week, even though I'll get it back soon.
I could also have animal control come with a trap, but they only thing is I don't know where the kitty will go when caught, whereas the HS will try adopting it out if it's not totally feral.
I think I may just continue to feed it until we can get the cash for the deposit on the trap. I want to see this kitty have the best chance and I think it will through the HS.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Sneaky,

I know how you feel!! I'd be in the same predicament and we do not even have a group that operates trap, neuter and release program that many jurisdictions have. The only game in town is the SPCA who do what they can but it is tough with ferals. My grandmother had a habit of feeding and caring for a feral colony and when she had to move in with me - she is deceased now - due to physical limitations and the need to be with someone who could care for her (She was 86 and had breat cancer, arteosclerosis, glaucoma and other medical issues) and we worried about the cats who really depended on her kindness and help to survive - especially in the cold winters we experience. My grandfather - who was deceased at this time - had managed to create a housing area for the kitties and gram (with he help of various family members and other friends she enlisted for the cause) - It was an enclosed area but heated in the winter thru a direct line to to my grandmother's home heating source. (That was my dad, a retired engineer's contribution). So we fretted over these cats. Many had been captured, neutered and released over the years (paid for my grandmother - she usually got a discount from an older vet who she knew quite well. It is safe to say if she had not known him as a friend before, she would have certainly known him well at after her forways to his office with cats and more cats!).

We knew bringing the adults to the SPCA would mean a death sentence for many - and they had a tough life to begin with. I must say a variety of kittens from feral mothers found loving homes over the years though they had to pass some extremely demanding tests to qualify to adopt any of them! (They had to pay for the vaccinations, deworming and defleaing and vet examination and had to sign a form saying they'd neuter the cat. If they defaulted on their agreement re neutering, they had to return the cat. (And my grandmother on a few occasions actually went to pick up an intact cat!)
She never formed an association and charged fees only for the vet so she was somewhat like the village cat lady. (She'd been an OR/ER nurse professonally and also an artist and a quilter). She had never heard the term no kill shelter and there was just a very badly equipped SPCA shelter at that time!

Gram was especially fond of one cat, Sadie, who was very wild. She tried to keep her in the house but Sadie refused to eat and hid. Finally, gram thought it best to release her back outside (This was January when we can get temps of -20 frequently). Ironically, after the fuss she'd put up in the house, Sadie whined and cried outside and looked forlornly at the home. Gram took her back inside and she never cared to go back outside ever again, lol (Sadie moved with gram to my home)

Anyway - sorry to go on. We actually came to the conclusion that the most humane solution - at least in the beginning - was to allow them to live there and have someone drive my grandmother to the area as often as possible so they could be fed and cared for. Some neighbours and a cousin did help out by feeding them. One fellow - who spent much time inside because he had left his work as a chemist in a pulp and paper mill because of a disability - took up the cause and would walk over there every day and make certain there was food in the shelter and that it was warm.

Cats who were ill were always brought to the vet - and it is not always easy to tell if a feral is ill (they more so than even a cat who lives indoors - hide their injuries by instict) - though gram knew them so well. It gave him a new lease on life and he even stopped drinking, saying the money he would have spent on booze he gave to the cats! He even adopted a few of them and these formerly feral kitties became very quiet house cats!

Because the cats were all "fixed" or "desexed" as they say in my grandmother's native Ireland, the colony slowly dwindled and I myself took in the last two cats (Emily and Agnes or Aggie) who were quite aged for ferals and lived a few more years.

So I understand where you are coming from. My parents thought my grandmother was daft in her cat cause but I think that is a generational thing (not gram's generation perhaps tho she may well have been an aberation) but my dad wold complain but a good 50% of his photos from when he was young show him with cats or his dog Buster, lol

I wish you good luck in trapping and helping the the kitty get out of the cold. (and thank you for your work and your sentiments and bringing back these mostly fond memories to me).

btw, one of my fav web sites is a blog written by a cat trapper in Oregon. It's best to start at the beginning but she narrates the plight of feral cats really poignantly and realisticly. I do wish we had those clinics here tho!! It is found at: http://thecattrapper.blogspot.com/
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Old December 6th, 2004, 04:09 PM
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Here is a picture of George,whom I fed twice a day for three years,winter and summer.He would come sometimes with terrible wounds from fighting and HS on several occasions let me borrow a trap,but George was too darn smart,he somehow got the food without getting trapped.
The plan was to get him neutered and release him again at my house...but it did not work.
In three years of trying to approached him,he was as scared as ever of me.
One day he just did not come back,I suppose something terrible happened to him....I kept putting out food,but no George :sad:
Here's a picture I managed to get of him,I was inside and he's sitting on my deck waiting for food..
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Old December 6th, 2004, 04:12 PM
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Sneaky,in your case,if you cannot catch the cat,at least he'll have food...you are always warmer if you have a full tummy and maybe one day you'll be able to get him.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 04:29 PM
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Awwwww! George looks adorable!! One can hope he may be OK and have even found a family but with feral cats, he may have crossed that infamous brisge. Let's hope if that occured that it was painless.

Some of my gram's ferals used to have quite the worst looking wounds. One Tom in partular - would have these horrid bloddy gashes - and she'd nurse him back to health and he'd return, looking worse than he did the last time. Even when she finally managed to keep him in long enough to get neutered, he still would get into fights. I told her she should have called him Ali or Dempsey or some such name, lol He was always feral and she found him dead one day but he did manage to live to about 15, a senior citizen for a feral!! (I always had a soft spot for that cat - I loved black cats for one thing.) I may have a picture of him somewhere - will try to find it and scan it.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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All of you deserve medals for what you do for these poor cats, especially grandma! We have a spay & release program here and at the college a number of feral cats. For several years a co-worker of my hubby provided food and clean water dispensers for them. He retired last summer and now my hubby is tending to them. I'm not sure how it works, but evidently a spayed and neutered feral cat colony will not add new cats (from another area) and just maintain its current population. The retiree watches on a web-cam to be sure hubby is taking care of the feeders!
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Old December 6th, 2004, 05:00 PM
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Just to add, he did trap and take these cats in for spaying and neutering through the program.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Great story CK! I wish I could do half of what your gram did.
Aww chico, what a sad story about George. Maybe he did go back home... No matter what, at least he knew you loved him and wanted the best for him. He was lucky to have you.

I didn't see the kitty last night or today yet... the food was gone but it could have been anything.

Does anyone know how many breeds (if any) that are tailess? This cat doesn't have a tail and I'm just praying it was born that way... :love:
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Old December 6th, 2004, 08:07 PM
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Hi Sneaky,

The Manx is a particular breed of tailless cats, that come in all colors, do you notice if the hind legs are higher than the front? That might be a way to tell if you've got a Manx kitty there...but he certainly is gorgeous!!! :love:
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Old December 6th, 2004, 08:53 PM
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As far I know, the two types of cats with no tail are the manx and the bobtail cats. There is an excellent discussion of tailless cats at
http://www.messybeast.com/bobtail-cats.html

It's quite a thoughtful and insightful read!

There is also a good site that focuses on Manx cats at: http://www.best-cat-art.com/Manx-cats.html

Both breeds and there is apparently a sub-breed in the bobtail category.

As much as the scientist in me dislikes the use of anecdotes, I do have a personal story about a cat with no tail. Our first cat when I was a child - named after Puff of the Dick and Jane elementary school readers - had a kitten we also creatively named Blackie (one can guess his colour, lol). Puff had began her life as a feral barn cat who adopted us. She was pregnant when she arrived and had just the one live kitten - the other was stillborn. Probably because of that, Puff was so overprotective of poor Blackie that she dragged him all over the house. Curiously, she lifted him by his tail and not the scruff of his neck and by the time he was about two months old, this poor little kitten was left with virtually no tail at all. He looked like a bobtail cat. In retrospect, one wonders why she did not carry him the in the usual manner? (Anyone have any thoughts on that or heard of or expereinced similar situations?)

And I have heard of and seen cats who've had - for one reason or another - usually injury or serious llness - had their part of or all their tail amputated.

So, any one of those or something entirely different may have happened to your feral??

Good luck in acquiring her? Often, rescue groups or even the dreaded pound will loan you a trap to help catch the kitty.
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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:00 PM
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Thanks for the sites... She (I'm going to call it a she until someone tells me differently) has a weird design on her sides... I thought at first she looked exactly like one of my cats (grey tabby?) but after looking a bit harder I noticed it was not stripes on her sides... it looks like a 'W' design... I don't know how to explain it. I'm going to try to get a pic of her soon, so I can post it. That is if I can get close enough... maybe I'll have to take the pic through the window.
And I'm going to call her Fifi
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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:11 PM
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oops

sorry I just re-read and realized that George was Chico's (sorry!)
got a little confused there...

looking forward to pics of Fifi!!!
good luck sneaky!!!
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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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Thank you! :love:
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Old December 6th, 2004, 09:31 PM
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Wink

We will all be waiting with baited breath! (pun intended - tuna baited breath maybe )

Good luck!!!! My thoughts are with you and the kitty!
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Old December 6th, 2004, 10:00 PM
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Thank ya CK! :love:
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Old December 6th, 2004, 11:46 PM
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wow the little fella I am feeding outside is a manx...jet black, bobbed tail, and those funny high bunny like legs in the back. And man is he a talker! But I swear if you werent in PA I's swear we were feeding the same cat!
All these stories are so uplifting....to see so many who care and have a passion for helping animals.
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Old December 7th, 2004, 06:57 AM
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I don't know of the high bunny legs you guys are talking about....

I still haven't seen Fifi since two days ago, but all food was eaten again.
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